Hot Plate: Make Way for The Elephant, Wet City Opens in Mt. Vernon

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elephantBring on the heat wave. The temperatures are rising – and Baltimore’s restaurant scene is hot this week, too, with openings and announcements, plus a handful of fun, engaging events around town.


After an extensive – and lengthy – renovation project, The Elephant, the restaurant in the old Brass Elephant space, is just about open. After a few more pre-opening events this coming weekend, the restaurant will open to the public next week.

If you go, take a few minutes to look around, both upstairs and on the main floor. It’s a fabulous space and a very welcome addition to the Baltimore restaurant community.

Just a few blocks away from The Elephant, a very different type of spot – the beer bar Wet Cityhas opened up in the former Dougherty’s space. The space is cool and vibe is fun – and the beer list is interesting and extensive. Don’t miss the No Temp burger, either; it’s top-notch.

Though Mari Luna fans were dismayed to hear that the restaurant’s Latin-focused location (Mari Luna Latin Grill) closed recently, there is good news: a new Peruvian spot, Inka Grill Fusion, has taken over its Pikesville space. Inka’s menu includes Peruvian favorites plus other South American dishes, offering everything from ceviche to steak.

Honeygrow, the Philadelphia-headquartered, local-product-driven stir fry and salad restaurant, has announced the upcoming opening of two locations in Baltimore. A Charles Village restaurant will open this fall, followed by a second location in the Exelon building near Harbor East, opening toward the end of the year. 

Hip Hop Takeover

Whether you’re an ice cream lover, a ‘90s music aficionado, or both, The Charmery in Hampden will be the place to be tomorrow afternoon and evening. The popular ice cream shop is celebrating its third birthday with an ode to ‘90s hip hop and R&B music – think DJs, dance squads and at least eight brand new flavors created around ‘90s song lyrics and titles. What’s not to like?

And that’s not the only nod to hip hop in the culinary community this weekend. Tonight and tomorrow, Chef Cleetus Friedman – a Baltimore native now living in Chicago – will take over the kitchen at Artifact Coffee, hosting “ChicagoMore,” a mash-up of the cuisines of his two hometowns. Each dish will be paired with a Chicago beer – and an old school hip hop tune.

Hands On

Interested in picking up a few skills as you dine?

Head to Union Craft Brewery on Tuesday, July 26 for a class with Chef Egg. The chef will teach guests how to pair summer ingredients with Union beers, teaching students in a few culinary tricks of the trade along the way.

Then, on July 27 Cunningham’s chef Jay Rohlfing invites guests to join him preparing dinner. The class and meal will take place at Cunningham’s Café, downstairs from the main restaurant, and will combine instruction with great food.

From the Sea

Set sail on Wednesday, July 27, as Ryleigh’s Oyster takes to the Bay. The restaurant will host a two-hour cruise on the Sigsbee, an historic skipjack built in 1901. The event will include oysters, crushes, beer and wine, plus unparalleled views of the harbor and Bay.

On Thursday, July 28, Gertrude’s will host a crab and beer dinner featuring four crabby courses paired with Union Craft beers. Crabs this year have been fantastic – and in the capable hands of Gertrude’s chefs Doug Wetzel and John Shields, along with Wildfire chef Moreno Espinoza, this meal is sure to showcase the crustaceans in the best possible way. 

Flying Dog in Hunt Valley

Also on July 28, Flying Dog Brewery will stage a tap takeover at Polo Lounge in the Hunt Valley Inn. The brewery will take over all six of the restaurant’s tap lines and will feature their fun seasonal offerings – like Bloodline Blood Orange Ale and Dead Rise Summer Ale – plus some of their classic year-round brews. 

Christmas in July – Two Ways

Local restaurants are celebrating Christmas in July with a couple diverse events.

In the Lord Baltimore Hotel, the LB Bakery will offer beverage and bakery specials, plus holiday-themed happy hours, from July 25 to July 29.

And Kooper’s Tavern’s three locations will partner with Maker’s Mark to raise money for BARCS, Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter. Visit Kooper’s North this evening, Kooper’s Jacksonville tomorrow evening and Kooper’s Tavern in Fells Point on Monday evening to donate pet toys, food and blankets (or money!), for drink specials, and to pick up a complimentary Maker’s 46 wax-dipped rocks glass. At Kooper’s Tavern, Maker’s 46 collector bottles will also be available for purchase.

Baltimore Restaurant Week Continues

Summer Restaurant Week in Baltimore City starts today! This year, the 70-plus participating restaurants will set their own prices, with a few guidelines: brunches and lunches will be $20 or less and dinners will be $35 or less. Start planning now – there are a lot of choices!

Fork & Cork Is Back

Did you make it to any of the Fork & Cork dinners last fall? The series, which brings together chefs and sommeliers from several area restaurants, was a hit. Now, it’s coming back again. Four restaurants are included: Aggio, Fleet Street Kitchen, Wit & Wisdom and, newly added this year, La Cuchara.

Each dinner will take place at a different one of the four restaurants and will feature five courses, including offerings from all four chefs. Each course will be paired with a wine chosen by the beverage director/sommelier team.

The first dinner is coming up on August 16, at Aggio, and the series will last until November. The dinners will sell out – so get your tickets while they’re available!

Planning Ahead

Here are a few events to look forward to over the next few weeks:

July 31: Cocktails and a Cursed Child at Bookmakers 

August 4: Hersh’s Italian Takeover at Corner Pantry 

September 8: CFF Passion for Food & Wine 

September 15: Dining Out for Life

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